How does the theme of "Sex & Maturity" relate to Death of a Salesman?  

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e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The theme of "sex and maturity" can be seen most clearly in the characters of Willy and Happy.

Happy is best seen as one side of Willy's character. The part of Willy that Happy represents and expresses is defined by disloyalty and promiscuity. 

Early in the play, Happy brags to Biff about his sexual exploits with the girlfriends of the executives at his office. He is not exactly proud of what he is doing, but he also knows that he will continue and he is not exactly ashamed. 

This ambivalence regarding similarly loose conduct can be seen in Willy. When Willy is caught by Biff with a woman in Boston, Willy becomes defensive instead of apologetic. He denies instead of admitting. At no point does Willy acknowledge his failure as a father and husband because this admission is too painful for him. 

Both Happy and Willy are unable to finally confront or accept themselves as they truly are. Each, however, seems to suspect that this admission will be an admission of moral failure. 

It is sex and moral weakness that connects this pair of characters. 

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Death of a Salesman

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